First English is inviting all members of the congregation and singing friends far and near to join us in praising Jesus this Christmas by lifting their voices in a virtual hymn for our Christmas worship. You may have seen virtual choirs on YouTube or on other forms of social media. A virtual hymn is created by compiling videos and audio tracks of people singing the same piece but separately in their homes. Thanks to Bryan and Heather Helsel, we’ll be able to incorporate this way of making music into our celebration of this sacred festival!
Here is the secret to virtual hymns: you have to have 2 devices (smartphone, computer). You sing along to our pre-recorded backing tracks with one device (wearing headphones), while recording yourself with the other.
The hymn is “O Come All Ye Faithful,” stanzas 1, 2 and 4. (We’re omitting stanza 3). A PDF of the hymn can be found here:
Here’s how to get started!
- You will need:
- A phone or computer with a video recorder to record yourself
- A computer or tablet on which to download and play the backing track
- Headphones to hear the backing track (preferably small in-ear headphones, but don’t worry if you don’t have those)
- A copy of the hymn (linked above)
- A QUIET place to record yourself. Pastor Kimberly will set up a recording sessions at First English.
- This virtual hymn will first be included in worship on Christmas Eve. Please consider wearing appropriate worship attire when you record.
2. Choose a part:
- Unison singing on sts. 1 and 4; silent on 2
- Unison singing on sts. 1 and 4; soprano on 2
- Unison singing on sts. 1 and 4; alto on 2
- Unison singing on sts. 1 and 4; tenor on 2
- Unison singing on sts. 1 and 4; bass on 2
3. Once you have chosen your part, download the appropriate backing track. A backing track contains organ accompaniment and singers guiding your part. You can also sing with a full choir (recommended for those singing unison on stanzas 1 and 4).
4. Practice your part with the backing track until you feel comfortable.
5. When you are ready to record, set up your second device. If you are using a phone, use your video function in landscape mode (horizontal). Make sure the camera is oriented toward you, as if you were taking a selfie. Press record, and state your name and the part you are recording. Please keep your earphones attached to the first device on which you are playing the backing track. The earphones prevent the microphone from picking up the accompaniment while allowing you still to hear it. When have finished recording, wait a few seconds and then turn off the recording. Your finished recording should include only the sound of your voice along with your video.
6. Save your file recording in the following format: jane.doe.unison and upload the file to Pastor Kimberly’s google drive here BY NOVEMBER 20, 2020.
7. Want to participate but feel daunted by the technology? No worries! Contact Pr. Kimberly. She is very excited about this project and would be thrilled to help you!